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3 Types of Trauma Seen in Teenagers and Adolescents

Teen in field struggling with teen trauma

Experiencing trauma profoundly challenges a teen’s sense of security. Untreated trauma can be devastating and have lasting impacts on adulthood. At Imagine Nampa, we understand the risks of untreated trauma and provide comprehensive teen trauma therapy in a safe and supportive environment. Trauma therapy helps teens process traumatic events for effective healing and healthy development. Contact Imagine Nampa at 888.503.4604 today to discover the benefits of trauma therapy for your teen and family.

What Are the 3 Types of Trauma?

Because the response to trauma is unique to every individual, what may be deeply traumatic to one person may have little to no impact on another. Common sources of trauma for children and adolescents include bullying, family discord, and the death of a close friend or family member.  Experiencing any form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse is also considered a significant source of trauma.

There are three primary types of trauma that our teen trauma therapists address in treatment:

  1. Acute trauma – Acute trauma results from a single traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, an accident, or being the victim of a crime. The event is severe enough to cause a person to fear for their safety, threaten their psychological security, and create a lasting impression in their mind. Acute trauma can influence a person’s thinking and behavior if not addressed.
  2. Chronic trauma – Chronic trauma occurs when a person experiences long-term or prolonged distressing events over an extended period. Domestic violence, neglect, bullying, and exposure to extreme situations are examples of chronic trauma. Additionally, multiple acute traumatic experiences can lead to chronic trauma. Chronic trauma symptoms are profoundly distressing and can take a long time to surface.
  3. Complex trauma – Complex trauma results from varied and multiple traumatic events that are invasive and usually occur within interpersonal relationships. Examples of complex trauma include incest, human trafficking, and pervasive abuse and neglect. People exposed to complex trauma often feel trapped and experience far-reaching, severe physical and psychological repercussions.

Most teens are not equipped to deal with trauma on their own. Professional trauma therapy is vital to their well-being. At Imagine Nampa, trauma-informed care is at the core of what we do. Our trauma therapy program helps teens process and heal from trauma by learning to talk openly about their experiences and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Evidence-Based Therapy for the Three Types of Trauma

Parents might assume teens want to talk about their trauma, but the opposite is often true. Many teens struggle even to acknowledge the reality of what happened. Instead, they usually try to escape or ignore it. Because teens are more inclined to talk with friends or peers about their experiences, group therapy is beneficial for treating teen trauma. A combination of both group and individual therapy is ideal.

At Imagine Nampa, we utilize the following techniques in both individual and group therapy sessions:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) identifies negative emotions and self-defeating thoughts that influence behavior. Teens learn to replace negative thinking and behavior with healthier ones.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides specific mindfulness and emotional regulation skills.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) uses specific eye movements and a focus on traumatic memories to spark changes in brain circuitry that support effective trauma processing and integration.
  • Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation effectively combat anxiety and depression and teach teens to be present in the moment.
  • Experiential therapies like art therapy and music therapy help teens explore and process their emotions through creative expression and are particularly helpful when teens do not want to talk.

The highly-skilled, compassionate treatment team at Imagine Nampa understands that how individuals are impacted by trauma is unique, so we create personalized treatment plans to address your teen’s specific needs.

Learn More About the Three Types of Trauma at Imagine Nampa

At Imagine Nampa, we provide trauma-informed therapy that supports your teen and enables them to overcome the challenges they face resulting from trauma so that they may heal and grow. Reach out to our team today at 888.503.4604 to begin your teen’s journey of healing and hope.